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The Purpose Driven Church: Every Church Is Big in God's Eyes Hardcover – November 14, 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 303 customer reviews

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The thesis of The Purpose Driven Church is that when churches think first about their health, growth is sure to follow. "If your church is healthy," writes Rick Warren, "growth will occur naturally. Healthy, consistent growth is the result of balancing the five biblical purposes of the church." These five purposes are to "Love the Lord with all your heart," "Love your neighbor as yourself," "Go and make disciples," "[Baptize] them," and "[Teach] them to obey." And those purposes can only be accomplished, argues Warren, when church leaders stop thinking about church-building programs and shift their focus to a "people-building process" involving fellowship, discipleship, worship, and evangelism. Warren, the founder of the fastest-growing Baptist church in American history, has taught seminars to thousands of pastors from all over the world, many of whom have successfully implemented his techniques.

From the Back Cover

'The Purpose Driven(R) Church has brought focus and direction to more pastors and church leaders than you can count. What a gift!'---John Ortberg, bestselling author Every church is driven by something. Tradition, finances, programs, personalities, events, seekers, and even buildings can each be the controlling force in a church. But Rick Warren believes that in order for a church to be healthy it must become a purpose-driven church, built around the five New Testament purposes given to the church by Jesus. 'The issue is church health, not church growth!' declares Warren. 'If your church is healthy, growth will occur naturally. Healthy, consistent growth is the result of balancing the five biblical purposes of the church.' Rick Warren shares a proven five-part strategy that will enable your church to grow * warmer through fellowship * deeper through discipleship * stronger through worship * broader through ministry * larger through evangelism The Purpose Driven(R) Church shifts the focus away from church building programs to emphasizing a people-building process. Warren says, 'If you will concentrate on building people, God will build the church.'
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310201063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310201069
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (303 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I find it hard to rate this book accurately. I have read few books that have been more helpful in the realm of practical church life. Warren skillfully presents a blue-print on how to grow a healthy in church in which the five purposes (which are presented Biblically) of worship, discipleship, fellowship, ministry, and evangelism are held in balance. The steps to take are practical and clear. Add to that a plethora of helpful common-sense tips to improving logistics in working with both the visitors and members of your church. This book is full of helpful ideas.
HOWEVER, the demerit of the book is its rather shallow Biblical basis. I believe that the five purposes Warren presents are biblical. I believe that the concept of moving people from membership to maturity to ministry to missions is biblical and very, very well developed. And I was impressed to see that Warren's church uses a church covenant and practices church discipline. I simply wish he had given a better biblical defense for these things. There are points where it seems like the author is taking Scripture out of context to defend a point - evidenced by his excessive use of paraphrases of Scripture. He should have used a literal translation and stuck to what the text actually says.
I also highly disagree with Warren's approach to music. He probably goes a bit overboard on the seeker-sensitive side of things, although I admit many of the things he says are non-moral, non-biblical, common-sense issues.
I was helped by reading this book. I have the sense to know that I can't apply everything Warren says in my own church culture and tradition, but there are some things any one can apply. I say, buy this book and read with discernment. As long as you don't make a Bible out of it, you will probably benefit greatly.
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Format: Hardcover
There has been a movement among missionaries and mission boards to encourage indigenous churches rather than merely exporting our culture to the rest of the world. The argument runs that the Gospel must always be enfleshed or embodied in a people and its culture. We cannot deny that the Good News of Jesus Christ must be spoken in particular human languages. Forcing Africans to worship like Scotsmen, does a disservice to African culture and the Gospel.
As I read Rick Warren's book, the Purpose Driven Church, I thought about this current trend in mission. Whether we like it or not, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church is a church indigenous to Southern California at the end of the twentieth century. Warren has attempted to translate the Gospel into the language of young, suburban professionals. As Paul quoted Stoic poets on Mars Hill, Rick Warren can comfortably quote Peter Drucker and utilize the marketing techniques of Starbucks. Anyone interested doing ministry in this culture can learn something from this book, especially if we take Rick Warren at his word--"Read this book like you'd eat fish: Pick out the meat and throw away the bones" (pg 71).
That being said, there is a danger. As the Gospel is expressed in culture, it must also critique the culture. Our sinfulness is pervasive, and the Gospel should expose the evils of our culture for what they are. Rick Warren subtitles his book, "Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission," but on several instances he compromises the Good News to the culture.
For example, we live in a self-segregated society. We routinely segregate white from black, rich from poor, and young from old. The Purpose Drive Church perpetuates these separation by slavishly focusing on target audiences.
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Format: Hardcover
Rick Warren, the pastor at Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, California, writes The Purpose-Driven Church in an effort to help other parish pastors. This is essentially a presentation of how Saddleback began, grew, and how it is governed. Through this presentation, Warren hopes the local pastor will be able to glean information helpful for restructuring his own ministry to create healthier, growing, goal-oriented churches. My overall impression is lukewarm. Warren comes across in this book as an incredibly faithful, caring, mission-oriented Christian, yet also displays glaring weaknesses in his doctrinal understanding-he is certainly no brilliant theologian. From these personal strengths and weaknesses stem the strengths and weaknesses apparent in both Saddleback Community Church and The Purpose-Driven Church.

In the realm of practical theology, Warren excells; the reader can glean many useful principles and techniques. These range from simple acts like using high-wattage lightbulbs and minimizing "dead time" in services to a purposeful analysis of how gifted you are at reaching particular demographic groups (young couples, educated African-Americans, etc.). Most helpful for this reader is Warren's continual emphasis that the church structure must be normed and guided by its evangelism-centered mission statement; Warren shows that as his church grew (and changed), the mission continually guided Saddleback's decisions. This reader very much appreciated seeing the principles outlined in Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and Hyrum Smith's "What Matters Most" applied in a mission-oriented church setting.

Not all in The Purpose-Driven Church was helpful, however.
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